In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer could look a little different for many families. Megan Nolan and her family are getting used to the new normal, working from home.
With two daughters and a full-time job, working from home can prove to be a difficult task.
Nolan decided to enroll her children into classes at Cornerstone Center for the Arts this summer. Cornerstone in Muncie is offering exclusively online classes for all ages this summer in programs that range from dance to visual arts.
“Utilizing online activities has been wonderful, because even kids with big imaginations get bored and need structure,” Nolan said. “Several of the online groups they participated in this spring are ending this month, so having other activities to keep them involved is a huge plus.”
“I know it's not the same experience, and that everyone would rather be together in person, but it doesn't add stress for us. I like that they are still able to participate in art education while not having to worry about exposure,” she said.
While it isn’t the same experience and everyone would rather be meeting in person, she said it “doesn’t add stress for us.” She likes that they are still able to participate while not having to worry about exposure
She added that one thing that makes Cornerstone stand out is the care and attention of the instructors and the diversity of the classes taught, noting this summer is the perfect opportunity to try it out.
“Artistic expression is an important outlet for children who may be experiencing stress at this uncertain time. The teachers at Cornerstone are both caring and passionate, and I know this will translate to an online experience that is a positive one,” she said.
Mecca Shreves, director of administration at Cornerstone, said the shift to online classes was built out of necessity during the state-wide stay at home order and is an exciting change for the staff.
“We're trying to change as little as possible about our classes and give the same amount of supplies and attention from their teachers and still keep it affordable,” Shreves said.
Classes will run from June 1 to June 23 and registration is now open through Cornerstone’s website. Teachers will be teaching from their usual studios while interacting live with their students through Zoom.
Students that enroll in a visual arts class will be sent a supply kit of all the materials needed for the eight week course available for pick-up at designated times or contactless delivery, Shreves said.
This is something that many people have never done before, she said, so she understands the challenges that come with it.
“People with school aged children have been working with online lessons for schools and that hasn't been their favorite experience,” Shreves said. “So we're trying to eliminate the stress of that and make this a fun thing that people can do and still socially distance and make great art.”
She said some of the benefits of virtual learning, explaining how this summer they have students registering from outside of the Muncie area including two out-of-state students.
Sarah Shaffer, Cornerstone’s Director of Education, said the instructors are working hard to make sure their students' online experience is as stress free as possible, exploring options like Zoom, Google Classroom and recorded lessons.
“Art is vital to the health of a person. We find release in creativity. Whatever bad is going on in the world, we can release our creativity through art,” she said.